United Football League
UFL 2024: Five things to watch for in Week 6
United Football League

UFL 2024: Five things to watch for in Week 6

Updated May. 3, 2024 3:36 p.m. ET

For the first time this season, Adrian Martinez looks like he will get back-to-back starts, as the undefeated Birmingham Stallions hit the road to take on the Memphis Showboats (1-4) on Saturday at noon ET as part of a full slate of games to start the second half of the UFL season.

Martinez has been part of a two-quarterback approach for the Stallions, sharing time with Matt Corral. However, Birmingham’s offense has been more explosive with Martinez under center, averaging 32.5 points per contest and winning by an average margin of 22 points per game. 

Martinez leads the league in rushing with 302 yards through five games and has the league’s only 300-yard passing performance this season. The last time he faced the Showboats, Martinez threw for 334 yards in a 33-14 win in Week 3.

"I really feel it in my heart that I’m an NFL quarterback," Martinez said. "And that’s what I’m here to try and prove." 


The St. Louis Battlehawks (4-1) host the Houston Roughnecks (1-4) at 3 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app in Saturday's other game.

Sunday's doubleheader on FOX features the winless Arlington Renegades facing the Michigan Panthers (3-2) at Ford Field at 1 p.m. ET, and the DC Defenders (2-3) hosting the San Antonio Brahmas (4-1) at Audi Field at 4 p.m. ET.

Here are five things to watch for in Week 6.

1. Kai Nacua is making a case for UFL Player of the Year

Michigan safety Kai Nacua, the older brother of Los Angeles Rams receiver Puka Nacua, has been a clutch playmaker for the Panthers this season, filling up his stat sheet and staking a claim for this year's honors.

Nacua leads the league with three interceptions through five games. He also has 29 combined tackles, six pass breakups and 1.0 sacks to his name thus far.

Other defenders in the conversation include Stallions defensive lineman Carlos Davis, who boasts a league-leading six sacks on the season. Defenders defensive end Malik Fisher (5.0 sacks), Renegades defensive end Jalen Redmond (4.5) and Nacua’s teammate Breeland Speaks (4.5) are right behind Davis.  

San Antonio linebacker Jordan Mosley leads the league with 38 combined stops.

2. Safety D.J. Swearinger released by the Defenders

The eight-year NFL veteran defensive back was released by the Defenders this week. Swearinger, 32, confirmed the move on social media, saying he was told his former team wanted to get a look at younger players on the roster.

Swearinger totaled 21 combined tackles and started all five games for the Defenders. He played for six different teams in the NFL, totaling 425 combined tackles, 14 interceptions and 4.5 sacks in 110 games played, including 73 starts. 

The Stallions released punter Colby Wadman, who had been dealing with an ankle injury. Birmingham will stick with punter Drue Chrisman.

The Brahmas signed Arizona and Washington State product Jayden de Laura after the quarterback went undrafted in this year’s draft. The Brahmas released Tom Flacco, the brother of NFL quarterback Joe Flacco, to make room. 

Running back CJ Marable (personal reasons) is expected to be active for the Stallions in Week 6, while St. Louis receiver Darrius Shepherd will miss a second straight week with a hamstring injury.

3. AJ McCarron is a gunslinger for the Battlehawks

While Arlington’s Luis Perez leads the UFL with 1,151 passing yards, McCarron has been the most efficient passer in the league this season.

McCarron is tops in completion percentage (68.5%) and touchdown passes (10) through five games, and he's second in yards (1,051). He has completed passes to 11 different players, guiding the Battlehawks to a league-leading 30.2 points per game.

Since losing to the Panthers in the season opener, the Battlehawks have reeled off four wins in a row, beating teams by an average of 14.5 points a contest — and McCarron’s expert handling of St. Louis' offense at QB has been the difference.

4. The Rock celebrates 52nd birthday

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, a UFL co-owner, celebrated his 52nd birthday on Thursday. 

Johnson and the UFL were in a jubilant mood as the league reached the midpoint of the season. According to the TV numbers, the spring league appears headed in the right direction. FOX averaged 946,000 viewers through the first five games of this season, up 29% from the same point in the USFL last season (731,000).

The most-viewed UFL game on FOX was 1.349 million on March 30, when the Panthers defeated the Battlehawks, 18-16, to open the season. In 18 UFL telecasts, networks have averaged 845,000 viewers, which is 25% better than last year’s average for all regular season USFL and XFL games through Week 5. 

5. Stat of the week

Arlington's inability to stop the run is one of the many reasons it has struggled this year. The Renegades allowed 178 rushing yards in a loss to the Brahmas last week, and they're allowing a league-worst 123.6 rushing yards a contest.

Eric D. Williams has reported on the NFL for more than a decade, covering the Los Angeles Rams for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. Follow him at @eric_d_williams. 

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